Afro-Turks (Turks of African Descent) Love Obama

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Afro-Turks Love Obama

Turkish citizens with African ancestors who came to Anatolia to work on tobacco and cotton plantations in the last years of the Ottoman Empire gathered over the weekend to celebrate the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.

Afro-Turks from the districts of Ortaca, Dalaman and Köycegiz in the southwestern province of Mugla got together to celebrate Obama’s success. They hung banners declaring “Barack Obama, we love you very much” during the solidarity event, held at Toprak Ana (Mother Earth) in Ortaca.

Turkish citizens with African ancestors who came to Anatolia to work on tobacco and cotton plantations in the last years of the Ottoman Empire gathered over the weekend to celebrate the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.

Afro-Turks from the districts of Ortaca, Dalaman and Köycegiz in the southwestern province of Mugla got together to celebrate Obama’s success. They hung banners declaring “Barack Obama, we love you very much” during the solidarity event, held at Toprak Ana (Mother Earth) in Ortaca.

Ali Karakus, an executive at the African Solidarity and Cooperation Association (ASCA), noted that they established the association in Izmir to serve as an umbrella organization for Turkish citizens with African ancestors living in western Aegean provinces.

He explained that there are about 20,000 Afro-Turks living in the region. “While our roots are in the African continent, we take pride in having been born and raised in Turkey and being Turkish citizens. Our forebears fought heroically against the enemy in the War of Independence. Our ancestors came to Anatolia from Kenya, Somalia, Algeria, Sudan, Egypt and Libya,” he explained.

He said some of their ancestors came to Turkey in the mid-18th century to labor in tobacco and cotton fields. “The second group arrived in the early 1900s to work on Egyptian ruler Abbas Pasa’s farm in Dalaman. When this farm was closed down, we were given free land in [founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk’s period,” he added.

Karakus emphasized that they were always treated with hospitality in both the Ottoman and Republican periods. “The Africans who went to the UK, France, Australia and elsewhere lost their culture. But in Turkey they managed to preserve their culture because they lived as a group,” he said.

He said Afro-Turks were very happy about Obama’s election in the US. “We hope Obama will bring peace to the world. I hope the US view toward poor people around the world will change with Obama. We believe that Turkey will have friendly relations with the Obama administration. We also expect him to visit Turkey. We will invite him to Mugla. If he comes, we will sacrifice animals

See: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=164554

See: http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-afro-turks-the-africans-of-turkey/

http://www.avrupa.info.tr/News_Archieve/sept2008,01sept08.html


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